Pterostylis gibbosa (R.Br.) Illawarra Greenhood Orchid Recovery Plan

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, September 2002
ISBN 0 731 36905 X

2 Legislative context

2.1 Legal status

P. gibbosa is listed as endangered in NSW on Part 1, Schedule 1 of the TSC Act.

P. gibbosa is also listed as a nationally endangered species on Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). As the species is listed nationally, it is eligible for funding under the Commonwealth Endangered Species Program and is protected under Commonwealth legislation.

2.2 Recovery Plan preparation

The TSC Act requires that the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife prepare recovery plans for all species, populations and ecological communities listed as endangered or vulnerable on the TSC Act schedules. The TSC Act includes specific requirements for both the matters to be addressed by recovery plans and the process for preparing recovery plans. This Recovery Plan has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of the TSC Act and the requirements of the Commonwealth EPBC Act.

A draft of this Recovery Plan was placed on public exhibition for the period 13 January 2001 to 24 February 2001. Four written submissions were received including that of the NSW Scientific Committee. These submissions were considered during the finalisation of the plan.

2.3 Recovery Plan implementation

In NSW, the TSC Act requires that Ministers and public authorities (including the Director-General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service) take appropriate action available to them to implement those measures included in an approved recovery plan for which they are responsible. In addition, the TSC Act requires that a government agency must not undertake actions inconsistent with an approved recovery plan. The government agencies relevant to this plan are the NPWS, Shellharbour Council, Shoalhaven Council, Singleton Council, Wollongong Council, and TransGrid. Consequently, the actions outlined for each of these agencies (see sections 9 to 14 of the plan) must be implemented as described in the plan.

2.4 Relationship to other legislation

The lands on which P. gibbosa occurs include those that are owned and/or managed by the NPWS, TransGrid, Shellharbour Council and private landholders. Relevant legislation for P. gibbosa populations include:

  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1975 (NP&W Act)
  • Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
  • Local Government Act 1993
  • Rural Fires Act 1997
  • Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997
  • Forestry Act 1916

2.5 Key Threatening Processes

High frequency fire resulting in the disruption of life cycle process in plants and animals and loss of vegetation structure and composition is listed as a key threatening process on Schedule 3 of the TSC Act. High frequency fire is defined as "two or more successive fires close enough together in time to interfere with or limit the ability of plants or animals to recruit new individuals into a population, or for plants to build-up a seedbank sufficient in size to maintain the population through the next fire" (NSW Scientific Committee Determination Advice - 99/23). The NSW Scientific Committee describes P. gibbosa as a species that is affected by this key threatening process in its Final Determination.

Other key threatening processes (as defined and described in their respective final determinations) that may affect P. gibbosa include:

  • Clearing of native vegetation; and
  • Competition and grazing by the feral European Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.).

2.6 Critical Habitat

The TSC Act makes provision for the identification and declaration of critical habitat for species, populations and ecological communities listed as endangered. Critical Habitat, as defined in the TSC Act (s. 37), is considered to be "the whole or any part or parts of the area or areas of land comprising the habitat of an endangered species ... that is critical to the survival of the species". Once declared, it becomes an offence to damage critical habitat (unless the action is specifically exempted by the TSC Act), a species impact statement is mandatory for all developments and activities proposed within critical habitat and the concurrence of the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife is required before any approval is given.

To date there has been no critical habitat identified and declared for P. gibbosa. The feasibility of declaring critical habitat will be investigated by the recovery team following further survey (see section 10.2).

2.7 Environmental assessment

The TSC Act amendments to the environmental assessment provisions of the EP&A Act require that consent and determining authorities and the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife, as a concurrence authority, consider relevant recovery plans when exercising a decision making function under Parts 4 & 5 of the EP&A Act.

The following public authorities are currently known to have a decision making function in relation to P. gibbosa and its habitat: the NPWS, Shellharbour Council, Shoalhaven Council, Singleton Council, Wollongong Council, and TransGrid.

When exercising a decision making function under the EP&A Act for any development or activity which may affect P. gibbosa or its habitat, these and other relevant public authorities (should additional populations be found) must consider the content and objectives of this recovery plan.